Key to Reading Unit 19

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Unit Key 18

Unit Key 20

Unit 19

1. If practice is prolonged it becomes natural (lit. comes into nature) (practice makes perfect).

2. The saying of Libys could be right; for when he was asked what particularly fattens a horse, he said, 'Its master's eye.'

3. A man would/will say that it is easy to censure, but to do what is needed with respect to the present situation is (lit. this is) the part of an adviser.

4. He is afraid of his own shadow.

5. 'Tis indeed sweet when one has been saved to remember one's troubles.

6. Everything that is majestic always (lit. all majestic things) incurs (lit. has obtained) envy.

7. The wallet of a beggar cannot be (lit. is not) filled.

8. Not even Ares can stand against necessity.

9. But if it were possible for those who weep to cure their troubles and [for] the dead to rise up by weeping (lit. by tears), gold would be a lesser possession than weeping. But, as it is, old man, this is impossible, [viz] to lead [back] to the light (sc. of day) the man who has been hidden in his tomb. (Sophocles fragment 557)

10. This is the one thing to know first of all, [viz] [how] to bear what befalls [one] without resentment (lit. not resentfully); this man (i.e. the man who knows how to do this) is best, and his misfortunes sting [him] less. We certainly know how to say this, but to do it is hard. (Euripides fragment 572)

11. A sweet life and/or base cowardice could never restore a house or a city (lit. could restore neither .. nor..).

12. I would not betray a friend even when (lit. although) dead.

13. Wine drove me out of my mind; I admit that I do you wrong, but the wrong was not deliberate.

14. How could the man who manages his own life badly save any of those outside?

15. Always put aside travelling money for old age.

16. If you put no trust in enemies you will never suffer harm.

17. No-one knows what you think, but [everyone] sees what you do.

18. When you receive a favour remember it, and when you give one forget it.

19. Know thyself (i.e. your limitations as a human being).

When you wish to know who you are, look at the tombs as you journey by. [In] there are the bones and light dust of kings and tyrants and sages, and of those who were proud of (lit. over) their birth and wealth and reputation and physical beauty (lit. beauty of their bodies). And still none of these things availed them in [the passage of] time. Common [is] the death (lit. Hades) [which] all mortals have. In the light of this look and realise who you are. (Menander)

20. The good man might one day become bad, but the bad man could never become bad; for he is always.

21. If anyone rises up against the people with a view to [establishing] a tyranny, or helps to establish a tyranny, or overthrows the Athenian people or the democracy at Athens, whoever kills the man who has done any of these things shall be free from pollution (lit. let the man who....be free of pollution).

22. Polus: At any rate, I imagine, the man who is unjustly killed (lit. dies) is pitiable and wretched.

Socrates: Less than the killer, Polus, and less than the man who is justly put to death.
P.: How do you make that out, Socrates?
S.: Like this: injustice is (lit. happens being) the greatest of evils.
P.: Is this really the greatest [evil]? Is not suffering injustice (lit. being wronged) a greater?
S.: Not at all.
P.: You then would wish rather to suffer injustice than to commit it, would you?
S.: For my part, I should like neither; but if it were necessary to commit injustice or to suffer it, I should choose suffering it rather than committing it.
P.: Then you would not accept to be a tyrant?
S.: No, if [by] tyranny you mean what I do.
P.: Well, I mean what I did just now - the power to do in the state whatever seems good to the ruler (lit. him), killing, banishing, and doing everything in accordance with his own judgement. (Slightly adapted from Plato Gorgias 469B)
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(c) Gavin Betts, Alan Henry 2001